It's finally here.
In less than 24 hours, teams and players will announce the first of many free agent signings in 2013.
The St. Louis Rams are not poised to make as big of a splash as last off-season, but there will certainly be some new starters added in the next week. Whatever signings they make will undoubtedly change their draft bored giving the team a much shorter grocery list come April.
How have the Rams prepared for NFL shopping season? They started today by cutting ties with a notable contributor on defense...
Rams cut Quintin Mikell - Although the team waited until nearly the last minute, St. Louis did not go the entire "tampering" weekend without making headlines. Cutting Mikell after only two seasons wasn't ideal for obvious reasons, but clearing $3 million in 2013 will going a long way to filling other needs. The Rams will have two new starters at safety next season.
More info than ever needed about 2013 free agency - Have any questions about anything free agency-related? Nick Wagoner has answers. What does the process entail and how will the Rams divide up the $123 million salary cap?
Rams' shopping list - A broad list via the Post-Dispatch takes a look at all of the players - big name and otherwise - who could be on the Rams' radar. They will almost certainly try to fill the gaping hole left at safety. The Rams don't exactly have an attractive list of their own free agents, but there are several to watch.
Post-Dispatch mock draft - Jim Thomas compares his first crack at a 2013 NFL mock draft with that of five other "experts" from around the sports writing world. For the Rams, all of the player names are recognizable; however, hardly consistent from one mock to another. Could St. Louis target another defensive tackle in the first round? One thing is nearly certain - you haven't yet seen Thomas' projected Top 2 anywhere else.
Gibson to walk in free agency - To the surprise of many, Brandon Gibson appears to be a hot commodity on the open market. He will surely receive several contract offers early in the free agency period and none of them will likely come from the Rams. Ideally, Gibson is a solid 3rd or 4th wide receiver in a good offense, a position for which the Rams simply aren't intent on spending.
Time for Rams to deliver - For a little more than a year - since Jeff Fisher was hired early last January - the Rams have been surrounded by more hype than in nearly a decade. It's now time for St. Louis to put some luxury into their "remodeling" process. After spending heavily on defense last off-season, Joe Strauss believes the team needs to turn its attention to the offense.
Less pay or highway for Boldin - Anquan Boldin, who has achieved steady success since signing with the Baltimore Ravens, has been given an ultimatum: take a $2 million pay cut or pack his bags. After posting ridiculous postseason numbers of 380 yards and 4 touchdowns, the 3-time Pro Bowler believes he deserves to be paid like a top receiver. Boldin's Super Bowl MVP quarterback and the league's highest paid player, Joe Flacco, has his back on this one.
If you haven't seen it, Steven Jackson stopped by SportsCenter soon after voiding his contract.